Priest Lake Veterinary Hospital

2445 Morris Gentry Blvd
Nashville, TN 37013-2073



Chinchilla Husbandry




Galvanized steel mesh cages are the preferred choice for housing chinchillas due to their need for adequate ventilation. Wooden cages are discouraged, given chinchillas' propensity for chewing. To prevent injuries, ensure the cage floor is solid, and consider adding platforms for enrichment. Incorporating small wooden houses not only provides shelter but also satisfies the chinchillas' natural urge to chew. Opt for paper-based bedding.


Chinchillas, hailing from the Andes Mountains, thrive in cooler temperatures. Place their cage in a cool, well-ventilated area, maintaining temperatures between 60°F and 75°F. Humidity levels should stay below 60% to prevent the onset of heatstroke, as chinchillas are not well-suited to high temperatures.



A balanced diet for chinchillas includes recommended chinchilla pellets supplemented with Timothy hay for essential dietary fiber. While alfalfa hay is considered a treat due to its high calcium content, treats like fresh fruits and vegetables should not exceed 10% of their diet. Fresh water, provided through a sipper bottle, must be changed daily.



Careful handling is crucial for chinchillas to prevent stress-related issues such as "fur-slip." Avoid holding them in a dangling position and support their body immediately after picking them up. Using a towel or washcloth can assist in providing proper support.



Chinchillas are social creatures that thrive in pairs. Being nocturnal, they require a quiet environment during the day. Regular sand baths, provided for 15 to 20 minutes a few times a week, help them maintain a clean coat. However, excessive use may lead to eye irritation. Your Nashville exotic veterinarian can help to cover many of the common behavior problems in chinchillas



Chinchillas boast a lifespan of up to 20 years.


Common Medical Conditions

  1. Dental Malocclusion: Chinchilla teeth grow continuously, and malocclusion may have a genetic basis. Trimming may be necessary under general anesthesia. Often times, your chinchilla vet in Middle Tennessee will recommend many diagnostics such as bloodwork, head radiographs (x-ray) or even a head CT.
  2. Heatstroke: Chinchillas are sensitive to high temperatures and humidity. Signs include lethargy, panting, and red mucous membranes. Immediate veterinary attention is essential and you should seek immediate care at Priest Lake Veterinary Hospital. Please call first before you leave for your Nashville chinchilla vet.
  3. Fur Chewing: Linked to hereditary factors, dietary imbalance, or boredom. A well-rounded diet and engagement through enrichment activities may mitigate this issue. Your chinchilla vet in Antioch, TN will always evaluate and ensure your chinchilla isn’t suffering from this disease
  4. Fur Ring: Affecting males, fur ring occurs when shed fur constricts the penis. Swift veterinary attention is crucial. Your chinchilla vet in Nashville will always evaluate and ensure your chinchilla isn’t suffering from this potentially severe disease.
  5. Diarrhea: Often a result of an inappropriate diet, address overconsumption, and consider bacterial or parasitic infections.
  6. Respiratory Disease: Common in pet chinchillas, any signs of increased respiratory rate or mucus accumulation warrant prompt veterinary care.